Burning Glass quickly sets up a world where a gift is a curse, politics are deadly and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

From the book flap:

Red Queen meets Shadow and Bone in a debut fantasy about a girl forced to use her gift for sensing—and absorbing—other people’s feelings to protect the empire from assassins. Steeped in intrigue and betrayal, Burning Glass captivates with heartrending romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s quest for redemption.

In Riaznin, it’s considered an honor for Auraseers like Sonya—girls with a rare form of synesthesia—to serve as the emperor’s personal protector, constantly scanning for feelings of malice and bloodlust in the court. But Sonya would rather be free.

After the queen’s murder and a tragic accident, Sonya is hauled off to the palace to guard a charming yet volatile new ruler. But Sonya’s power is reckless and hard to control. She’s often carried away by the intense passion of others.

And when a growing rebellion forces Sonya to side with either the emperor who trusts her or his mysterious brother, the crown prince, Sonya realizes she may be the key to saving the empire—or its greatest threat.

Overall: What if you could know what people are feeling? Sounds like a great superhero power, right? But what if you had to feel what other people are feeling. Lust, rage, pleasure, pain….. Maybe not so great. Sonya is an Auraseer which means she has the gift of sensing the emotions of those around her. But she doesn’t just sense the emotions, she feels them herself. This ‘gift’ is also a curse. Auraseers are rare and become property of the empire once their gifts are known. Sonya’s parents tried to hide their daughter from the empire, but at 17 she was discovered and sent to a convent to train to serve the Emperor.

Most Auraseers train for years before they are called into a service but a series of unfortunate events bump Sonya to the top of the draft list. Before she knows it Anton, the crown prince has come to the convent to enlist Sonya to serve his brother Valko the Emperor as The Royal Sovereign Auraseer. Most young Auraseers would kill for this position of power, but all Sonya wants is her freedom. Instead she finds herself a beautiful bird in a gilded cage.

Burning Glass draws you in immediately with the fantastic world of Auraseers, two brothers at war with each other, and a potential conspiracy that could bring down the empire. Bring it!

 Judge a Book by its Cover: On the cover is a beautiful sapphire necklace that’s been shattered. Can you say foreshadowing?

 Me Talk Pretty: Riaznin has the feel of Old World Russia and the romantic, rich, fluid language to match. Many swoon worthy moments.

 Kick-Ass Factor: Riaznin is an empire that may be heading towards ward, but don’t underestimate the young, beautiful Auraseer, Sonya. She’s more lethal than she appears.

 Body Count: Remember earlier when I referenced a series of unfortunate events? Well the events comes with a body count. We’re talking double digits.

 The Chosen One: Sonya isn’t just another Auraseer. Her abilities are stronger than anyone other Auraseer. But she is also undisciplined, untrained and completely unwilling to do the job. But some of the best Chosen Ones are those who come to the job reluctantly. Let’s see if Sonya rises to the occasion.

Just. Why. Sonya can feel the emotions of the people around her. Okay, I get that. She can also feel the emotions of the dead. Umm, freaky, but okay….She can even feel the emotions of dead animals. Like even the pearls on her necklace. Okay, that’s a bit too much.

He Said/She Said: The words are good. Really good.

 “You can’t have it both ways, Sonya. Not anymore. You can’t be the doe and the demon.”

 “Live your life without looking too far behind you or too far ahead.”

“I’m not a mirror, Anton. And I don’t break like glass. I’m capable of my own feelings.”

Don’t Believe the Hype: Burning Glass has definitely been on the buzz list, and rightfully so. Purdie has created a unique world with Riaznin and its Auraseers and the royal brothers. Much like the world of the Grisha, it seems like we only scratch the surface of Riaznin in Burning Glass. You’ll want to get lost in the pages and the landscapes of this story.

Bizarre Love Triangle: One chosen Auraseer. Two royal brother. Burning desire!

Open tab/Last call: Burning Glass is definitely a page turner. Purdie starts with action, goes deeper with emotional connections, then throws us a curve with political intrigue. We want more Sonya, more Valko and more Anton. Kathryn Purdie, you bring book two, I’ll bring the Moscow Mules.

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie, March 1, 2016, Katherine Tegen Books, 512 pages.